Notes from Strengths Based Leadership

Now that I am commuting for two hours a day on the train, I have a lot more time to catch up on some reading. The followup of Strengths Finder from Gallup is this book, Strengths Based Leadership.

I am a big fan of the Strengths Finder book and it’s accompanying online test, so I was looking forward to this follow up. See Blogpost: Finding Strengths in Your Team for my post on  Strengths Finder.  I have also been working on a proposal for a conference with a co-worker entitled How You Can Develop Your Team By Harnessing the Strengths of Your Team Members so this topic was right up my alley.

Like the first book you also get a code to take an online test to help figure out your strengths but with a specific slant on leadership skills. Interestingly my top 5 strengths from before were all the same apart from Restorative has been replaced by Relator.

The researchers have identified how these strengths group into 4 overarching leadership styles.

The theory being that lots of the leaders that they have research do not have strengths in all of these areas. Their strengths are normally dominating one or two areas. The key though is that they surround themselves with people whose strengths dominate different areas.

These are some of the biggest things that I took away from this book:

  • If you spend your life trying to be good everything, you will never be great at anything. The greatest misconceptions is that of the well rounded leader.
  • The path to great leadership starts with a deep understanding of the strengths you bring to the table.
  • Be aware of just trying to imitate great leaders that you know. You will spend all your energy trying to be like them rather than figuring out what kind of leader you are.
  • If you are able to to help the people that you lead focus on their strengths, it will dramatically boost engagement levels throughout your organization.
  • Effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and build on each persons strengths. In most cases though leadership teams are formed out of circumstance. The most competent and skilled people making it to the top. Rarely are people recruited for strengths that will complement others on the team. For example seeking someone who could build stronger relationships between the group, or someone who could influence theirs on behalf of the group. Often people will pick people similar to their own personalities and strengths. How are you supposed to grow and adapt to change this way?

The book has three sections

  1. Investing in your strengths
  2. Maximizing your team
  3. Understanding why people follow

With lots of case studies and examples. A good read for anyone trying to find their leadership legs like me!

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